June 7, 2023

There has been so much debate around websites; is it just checking a box, or is it imperative to an FI’s business strategy? Does it require effort to be maintained, or is it more of a “launch it and leave it” strategy? 

Well, as marketers, we’re scrutinized to different standards, and I’d like to take a moment to level the playing field. To state it plainly, your website is your digital branch. It serves more customers/members, acquires more new visitors, and raises your brand profile in ways that your physical branches can’t touch. This means it must receive the respective level of investment as your physical branches.  

Bold statement I know... so instead of talking about it, let’s break it down with data. First, I’m going to use the following assumptions and averages: 

With these assumptions, let’s look at five different, real situations. Customer totals have been rounded. Using the low end of operating costs per branch ($200k), we’ve pulled together the following breakdown of costs associated with physical locations: 


Now let’s use these figures when gauging websites:


The average cost per branch per business day is $664 compared to $82 per day for your website, with an additional 64 days (about 2 months) served on the website. Meaning a website is 809% more cost-effective than your branches, while also serving (on average) nearly 9x more users (customers and noncustomers) PER DAY. 

Ok, that’s just the maintenance side. So, if we know that there is an average cost to launch a website of $81,000 (and that’s a broad average) and using the low-end average of $2,000,000 to open a branch, let’s evaluate the efficiency of both. 


So, let me ask: Why are we spending nearly 25x more on a physical branch than on a website to serve less than 10% of our audience? At this rate, all things being equal, if we were to spend the branch average $93.58 per visit per day on a website, then website budgets would be averaging around $21,484,564. 

(Plus, 90% of non-customers/members are visiting your website before even thinking about stepping foot in a brick-and-mortar branch.) 

Don’t worry, I’m not advocating for millions on a website... but perhaps, take a harder look at what your audiences are telling you they want, and invest accordingly.